1st Edition

Food Security, Gender and Resilience Improving Smallholder and Subsistence Farming

    194 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    194 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Through the integration of gender analysis into resilience thinking, this book shares field-based research insights from a collaborative, integrated project aimed at improving food security in subsistence and smallholder agricultural systems. The scope of the book is both local and multi-scalar. The gendered resilience framework, illustrated here with detailed case studies from semi-arid Kenya, is shown to be suitable for use in analysis in other geographic regions and across disciplines. The book examines the importance of gender equity to the strengthening of socio-ecological resilience. Case studies reflect multidisciplinary perspectives and focus on a range of issues, from microfinance to informal seed systems. 

    The book’s gender perspective also incorporates consideration of age or generational relations and cultural dimensions in order to embrace the complexity of existing socio-economic realities in rural farming communities. The issue of succession of farmland has become a general concern, both to farmers and to researchers focused on building resilient farming systems. Building resilience here is shown to involve strengthening households’ and communities’ overall livelihood capabilities in the face of ongoing climate change, global market volatility and political instability.

    1. Introduction: Gender, Food Security and Resilience in Kenya 

    Leigh Brownhill and Esther M. Njuguna 

    2. A Participatory and Integrated Agricultural Extension Approach to Enhancing Farm Resilience through Innovation and Gender Equity 

    Lutta W. Muhammad, Immaculate N. Maina, Bernard Pelletier, and Gordon M. Hickey 

    3. Exploring the Relationships between Gender, Social Networks and Agricultural Innovation in Two Smallholder Farming Communities in Machakos County, Kenya 

    Colleen M. Eidt, Gordon M. Hickey, and Bernard Pelletier 

    4. Land to Feed My Grandchildren: Grandmothers’ Challenge to Access Land Resources in Semi-Arid Kenya 

    June Y. T. Po and Zipporah Bukania 

    5. Gendered Food and Seed Producing Traditions for Pearl Millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) in Tharaka-Nithi County, Kenya 

    Megan Mucioki, Timothy Johns, and Samuel Kimathi Mucioki 

    6. Banking on Change: An Ethnographic Exploration into Rural Finance as a Gendered Resilience Practice among Smallholders 

    Carly James and June Y.T. Po 

    7. Nested Economies: Gendered Small-livestock Enterprise for Household Food Security 

    Leigh Brownhill, Esther M. Njuguna, Erick Mungube Ouma, Malo Nzioka, and Esther Kihoro 

    8. Women Second: Reflecting on Gendered Resilience within Formal Regulatory Policies for Forest-based Livelihood Activities in Kenya 

    Stephanie Shumsky, Kimberly L. Bothi, Elizabeth Nambiro, and Patrick Maundu 

    9. Accountability and Citizen Participation in Devolved Agricultural Policy-making: Insights from Makueni County, Kenya 

    Leigh Brownhill, Tony Moturi, and Gordon M. Hickey 

    10. The Resilience Umbrella: A Conceptual Tool for Building Gendered Resilience in Agricultural Research, Practice and Policy 

    Leigh Brownhill and Esther M. Njuguna


    Leigh Brownhill teaches at Athabasca University, Canada and is an independent scholar focused on gender, agriculture and environment. 

    Esther M. Njuguna is a Scientist focused on Gender Research for the CGIAR Research Program (CRP) on Grain Legumes at the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Kenya. 

    Kimberly L. Bothi is the Associate Director for Science and Engineering at the Institute for Global Studies/College of Engineering of the University of Delaware, USA. 

    Bernard Pelletier is a Research Associate at McGill University, Canada. 

    Lutta W. Muhammad is a Senior Researcher at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), Kenya. 

    Gordon M. Hickey is an Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Canada.

    "Each of this volume's ten essays is part of an umbrella project of McGill University and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization. Collectively, the works weave a common theme about the intersection of agro-trends in developing countries, resilience in an environment of general food scarcity, and the dynamics of gender as a marker in such an environment. The essays further explore the latter two themes, asking to what extent and how women’s roles and activities in the food production chain reinforce resilience, and how such a force can be strengthened by enhancing various aspects of gender dynamics to further build and grow the chain. The discussion of these qualitative studies is understandably quite dense, with the focus less on agricultural practice per se, and more on the sociology and anthropology of agricultural interactions, some concentrated (seed gathering and preservation and small livestock enterprises), some diffuse (financial and regulatory schemes), but all focusing on how gender plays a role in building resilience in a relatively food-scarce environment. This work is recommended for advanced students and specialists and will be a nice addition to collections in anthropology, gender studies, and rural sociology.
    Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above; faculty and professionals."
    L. S. Cline, Missouri State University - CHOICE